Friday, February 5, 2016

Commoncraft Videos

Commoncraft Videos
Commoncraft produces short animated videos that explain things in simple and easy-to-understand language.  Each video is 2 to 4 minutes in length and explains a topic, procedure, or how to use something in plain English.  Click on a topic of interest and watch, learn, and enjoy. For more videos not listed here (about 70 videos up to now), click the pictures below to take you to the Common Craft video list.
Dropbox in Plain English

And there are more ... check out their site!

Videos of Interest

Videos of Interest, Innovation, and Passion

A Starbucks Barista with Autism has all the right moves when building a drink for his customers ... check it out!

Sir Ken Robinson believes that everyone is born with extraordinary capability and deep talent. So what happens to all that talent as we bump through life, getting by, but never realizing our true potential?  For most of us the problem isn't that we aim too high and fail - it's just the opposite - we aim too low and succeed.  We need to find that magic spot where our natural talent meets our personal passion. This means we need to know ourselves better. Whilst we content ourselves with doing what we're competent at, but don't truly love, we'll never excel. And, according to Ken, finding purpose in our work is essentially to knowing who we really are.  When you find your element, you will be physically exhausted, but spiritually uplifted and energized ... we need to stop denying ourselves the opportunity to allow our passion to be released. We should not say "No" to the diverse opportunities ... differences that open up for us create and re-create the course of our life.  Our education system and our workplaces must transform to something better ... but it won't transform if we don't transform within ourselves first.


Wouldn't it be nice if we enjoyed Advent? Well, you can.  Click on the title and see how you can enjoy Advent.

Pray the Rosary

Click the link below and go!


A Series of Videos about Belonging
This is a documentary film about the social vision of Jean Vanier ... The service of life and humanity. 

This is a movement from ME to WE ... from loneliness to building community. When we do things that make us laugh and spend time together, we are a community - we welcome, celebrate, and rejoice being together.  We can grow, change, and always keep in mind what do we want to grow as? It is about growth? 

Some words of wisdom from Jean Vanier. It is just so nice that we should strive to celebrate life every day.  It is in celebrating that we are doing things together that we make the bible and the teachings of Jesus come alive and visible every day. Let's celebrate being us! 

Balance is needed ... work should not identify you. We need to be more aware of what it means to be fully human. Who would you be without your briefcase? Without your credentials?  Are you known for your title or for yourself? Do you belong in a real way or in an "inauthentic way".

Belonging allows you to cope and face the challenges ... it's okay to be weak; it's okay to make mistakes; it's doing that counts and something that is uniquely you can give you a sense of belonging. Sticks and stones can break your bones, and names will really hurt you!

Being a refugee is a profound insecurity of belonging .. People want to belong, because they need to belong ... The good life doesn't bring people to Canada ... It is Peace that brings people to Canada.

The sense of belonging can never be separated from the sense of justice. Unity is more precious than proving that I'm better than you. It is in forgiving that we find inclusion and it is the heart of acceptance ... it is the key!  Forgiveness says none of us can meet the standard, welcome. The heart of humanity of the story of it is to grow towards compassion.


Tuesdays with Morrie (click to watch the movie)*

If you read one book in your life, read "Tuesdays with Morrie" ... It will change the way you look at life!  Read the ebook at:


Newspaper sports columnist Mitch Albom recounts the time spent with his 78-year-old sociology professor, Morrie Schwartz, at Brandeis University, who was dying from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Albom, a former student of Schwartz, had not corresponded with him since attending his college classes 16 years earlier. The first three chapters incorporate an ambiguous introduction to the final conversation between Albom and Schwartz, a brief flashback to Albom's graduation, and an account of the events Albom experienced between graduation and the reunion with his professor. The name Morrie comes from its meaning in Hebrew, which stands for "my teacher."

Albom is a successful sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press despite his childhood dream of being a pianist. After seeing Schwartz on Nightline, Albom called Schwartz, who remembered his former pupil despite the lapse of 16 years. Albom was prompted to travel from Michigan to Massachusetts to visit Schwartz. A newspaper strike frees Albom to commute weekly, Tuesdays, to visit with Schwartz. The resulting book is based on these fourteen Tuesdays they meet, supplemented with Schwartz's lectures and life experiences and interspersed with flashbacks and allusions to contemporary events.


Do you act correctly when using social networks? Check out the video and get valuable safety tips.

Internet Safety PSA

Do you know who you're talking to when using social networks? Check out the video ... yeah, it's a bit spooky, but it's the new reality.  When using the internet you should know the person you're dealing with - Be smart to stay safe!  Parents need to know where their children are surfing and what social networks or other sites the children are accessing.

Safety and Online Buying
Make online shopping a safe experience! This is a funny video about Dos and Don'ts when shopping online ... funny, but thought-provoking too.

Leaving to Learn
The way kids learn today is not confined to a classroom ... and this does not apply only to kids, but adults too.  Everywhere we go, we are learning and growing.

Ten Student Expectations
As educators and parents, we are always telling our students and children what we expect them to learn.  It is incumbent upon us as the adults to think about one more thing ... what do our children and our students expect from school?


Architect Trung Le from OWPP//Cannon Design in Chicago talks about North Shore Country Day School, a 21st century high school outside of Chicago.  The video is entitled "The Third Teacher".  You can see our own community space at Epiphany - our Student Computer Lounge.

Open Learning Environment
Very interesting use of furniture to create a setup and then re-create another in a matter of moments.  The environment is key ... if you build it, they will come!

I'll keep it simple ... In the show, Glee, this song is performed by a deaf choir and it is absolutely amazing.  If you don't cry watching and mouthing the words, there's something wrong with you.  John Lennon's words are even more powerful with this video. 

The Future of Learning
Taken from The Huffington Post Canada (Education)- January 13th, 2013
In a thought-provoking short 20-minute film, "The Future of Learning," Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson takes a look at engagement learning in a technological era. The video was made as part of Ericsson's Networked Society series.

"Knowing something is probably an obsolete idea. You don't actually need to know anything -- you can find out at the point when you need to know it," Sugata Mitra says in the video's opening. "It's the teacher's job to point young minds towards the right kind of questions. The teacher doesn't need to give any answers, the answers are everywhere. And we know now from years of measurements that learners who find the answers for themselves retain it better than if they're told the answer."

The piece takes a look at what the future of education could be in our networked society and presents fundamental divergence from previous methods of rote memorization -- in favor of tailored education where memorization may no longer be necessary for sake of pervasive information. From school e-readers and flipped classroom models to computerized testing and online courses, educators are still grappling with ways to shift an educational paradigm of the 20th century into one of the 21st. Check out the full film above and weigh in below -- What do you think the future of education holds?

When most well-intentioned aid workers hear of a problem they think they can fix, they go to work. This, Ernesto Sirolli suggests, is naïve. In this funny and impassioned talk, he proposes that the first step is to listen to the people you're trying to help, and tap into their own entrepreneurial spirit. His advice on what works will help any entrepreneur. To lead is to be a good listener and serve ... to be paternal and not patronize.

This film is a short documentary portrait of economist, technologist and lecturer Fritz Schumacher. Up to age 45, Schumacher was dedicated to economic growth. Then he came to believe that the modern technological explosion had grown out of all proportion to human need. Author of Small Is Beautiful - A Study of Economics as if People Mattered and founder of the London-based Intermediate Technology Development Group, he championed the cause of "appropriate" technology. The film introduces us to this gentle revolutionary a few months before his death.


In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to just ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.  You want something to succeed? - Be remarkable.


Self-explanatory ... Paper, we can't live without it?


This short animated video is from Norway.  It features the issues around using ICT in education and the future of Norway's education and eventually its economy. Nonetheless, the issues, concerns, and probable solutions addressed in the video are readily applicable to any school in North America and likewise, any school around the world - After all, we are a global community and we share the good, the bad, and the ugly that's part of being so interconnected.  The future is now and the sooner we realize it, the sooner we'll be able to move forward, since we're already 15% into the 21st century!


CBC Radio's Michael Enright speaks to Dr. Pasi Sahlberg (Finland's education reform guru) about the state of education here and what's happening in Finland ... how the low-stress model has helped Finnish students reach for the top - Very much worth listening to!  Click the title above and once there, click on the Listen icon. (February 17, 2013) 


Dr. Sahlberg's latest book,

Finnish Lessons, is now available.

Adaptable Thinking ... preparing for tomorrow. 

Watch a speaking engagement from Vanderbilt University on December 9th, 2011 ... click the link below.
Pasi Sahlberg: "Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland?"

Note: More videos and information on the Finnish Education system can be found in the "Self Directed Learning" tab


Here are a series of videos from Sir Ken Robinson ... for you to watch, ponder, critically think about, reflect on our own learning and teaching, and most importantly utilize to further foster student engagement, well-being, and achievement. Click on each title below:


Salman Khan: Let's Use Videos to Reinvent Education ... Watch Salman Khan in the early days of The Khan Academy


The Recycled Orchestra ... This little 3-minute clip will make you think the next time you see a broken instrument and complain that it doesn't work. 

I heard someone once say, "Necessity is the mother of imagination and the grandmother of invention."

Also, it is important to understand, as Sir Ken says, "that creativity is applied imagination."

Are you Ansgarr? The Introduction of Le Book
This is what it was like so many, many, many years ago ... With the ever rapidly changing world we live in today, sometimes you've got to wonder if things have really changed that much?

The Shirtless Guy ... A Good Lesson 

ABCNews: What Makes a Great Teacher?

TVO: What Makes a Great Teacher?

I Have a Question, Why Century Learning?

Animal School (YouTube Video-Story)

A eye-opening reflection on how we view children and how we teach children in our current education system


The Animal SchoolA Fable for Parents (Blog)

Apple's view of the future from the 1990s

As our technology gets better and better, the essence remains the same - to be better, more knowledgeable about our world and ourselves, and expand our ability to create and reshape.  As the adults, we need to provide a "context" and a "frame" to this incredibly expanding "content" for our children. It's not only "Where do you want to go?", but it's also, "Let me show you how to get there!"  
Therefore, as parents and teachers, we need to know the way, show the way, and soon enough, we'll need to get out of the way!


Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative


Technology's Impact on Education

It may look futuristic to us, but to our children, this is all very real and the way of the future.

An Everchanging World

A Day Made of Glass
THIS IS REALLY, REALLY NEAT, A MUST SEE. THE FUTURE IS ALMOST HERE, THIS IS CORNING GLASS, AND THE IDEAS ARE MIND BOGGLING, yet scary, especially for those who find it hard trying to catch up with technology. Some of this stuff is already here!

Sir Ken Robinson - Educating the Heart and Mind

B.Y.O.D. (Technology and Education) - What if?

Teaching in the 21st Century (Predio: Prezi-Video)

It is really amazing how things have changed ... what do we want in 2013 and beyond? If we focus on well-being, the social, emotional, and spiritual, the kids need to be happy and only then will we be able to focus on the academic.

The History of Technology


 This is a MUST SEE ... the effect you have on others is truly unknown until it comes back to you.

Change Your Words & Change Your World

Did You Know (2012) 

Dove (Evolution) 

Language as a Window into Human Nature

The Social Media Revolution - Are we ready?

Embrace Life

21st Century Enlightenment

The Internet in Society

Where Good Ideas Come From

Heaven Can Wait ... Buckle Up! 

The Single Best Thing You Can Do For Your Health

Stress and Your Health

The Classroom of 2030
TVO: The Agenda with Steve Paikin

Folks, take some time to watch the TVO show at the link above.  You'll get a better sense where the TCDSB is moving towards and this is what we want our school to move steadily towards ... not fast enough for the students, but at a pace that we can handle and in a manner that is meaningful to us as educators and parents.  You'll see an emphasis on FUN, ENGAGEMENT, AUTHENTIC – these are some of the key elements of what learning is about ... CONNECTIONS .... MAKING MEANINGS via CONTEXT, not CONTENT.  It’s all about “context” and how we as educators “create the frame” to present the “content”.  Are you ready for this?? If not, you’ll be struggling because our students/children are very ready for this!  Watch the video and see what is happening now.

Flipping the Classroom
Ever wonder what would happen if you asked kids to check out the work by themselves the day before you were going to do it and even assign them the work to do all by themselves ... Then, the next day go over the work and focus on the issues that were experienced. Well, it's not that straight-forward, but it's flipped from how schools do things. Check out this video clip on the "flipped classroom".

 A Vision of K-12 Students
How can we prepare students today for a future we really don't know much about?  We need a vision and a clearer understanding of what it is our students are engaging in.  Do we let the rest of the world into our education bubble? Check out this video and I'm sure you'll have more questions than answers. Likewise, I think you'll see that we need a vision ... things aren't as they always have been anymore.  Click on the title above to take you to the video. 

Learn almost anything for free! So, you watched the "Flipping the Classroom" and you saw a little bit of what Khan Academy is all about.  Now, you can use it too.  Click the link and use it to help you.